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Stories of Boat Related Mishaps and Experiences | Soundings Online Column

When Bay winds vanish, it’s time for gunkholing

When Bay winds vanish, it’s time for gunkholingPreparing to face some hot, light-air cruising during the dog days of August required some adjustments to my regular Chesapeake Bay sailing routine of seeking out and following the wind. This meant accepting the cruel fate of motoring more than absolutely necessary and making it boring, rather than interesting and challenging.

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I swear I won’t neglect my new mainsail

Bill Birmingham, of UK/Scott Allan Sailmakers, helped get the Bay Tripper back on the water.I had a traumatic experience in early June when a large panel of my UV-degraded reefed mainsail split from leech to luff while homeward-bound. The sail had to come off for a quickie temporary repair that I learned would cost some $300, a replacement panel for about $600 or a new sail for $1,000-plus. I visited a few sail lofts, even Bacon’s Used Sails, in desperation for almost anything that would fit and not interrupt my summer pleasures on the water.

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Favorable winds and four days of cruising

The Bay Tripper had plenty of wind for his first cruise of the season.My first cruise of the season was like many others before it in one respect, the destination, but totally different in another because there was wind — and plenty of it. I set off May 25 from Annapolis under sail, bound for Oxford once again.

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An amazing voyage, but let’s not forget about the boat

Matt Rutherford and his 27-foot Albin Vega both proved able circumnavigators during their non-stop voyage around the Americas.Matt Rutherford was already a tested trans-Atlantic single-hander before he became the first solo sailor to circumnavigate North America and South America non-stop via the Northwest Passage.

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Fresh paint and a boat that’s ready to cruise

The Bay Tripper inspects the topside paint job he and son Eric gave Erewhon.Free at last, free at last! After four months of winter imprisonment in a DIY boatyard, my classic sailboat was unchained from a work bed of dirt and stone April 10 and returned to its natural element. As we motored away from Casa Rio Marina in Mayo, Md., I released a loud “Yee-hah!” and waved farewell to any who might be listening and watching.

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Jack Sherwood, Writer-at-Large

Jack has been cruising Chesapeake Bay and writing about the region for more than 25 years. His critically acclaimed book, "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," was published by Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Press and is now in its second printing. Before joining Soundings, Jack was a feature writer at the Washington (D.C.) Star for nearly 20 years and a senior editor at Chesapeake Bay magazine from 1995 to 1998. His monthly Bay Tripper column focuses on the Chesapeake.


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